Friday, May 21, 2010

Erin's Birthday Party 2

Freaking clowns!

The preparations had been made. I'm not going to go into it, but Paul and I had been planning for months (don't worry, Farida, I forced him) the events leading up to yesterday's birthday party for my lovely case manger, Erin, who turned all of 26 years old.
Yes, I know what you're thinking, dear readers... doddering over the hill, seasoned old bag, past her prime senile incontinent matriarch, superannuated, antediluvian, prehistoric, antique broken down geriatric cougar... her best years behind her, and with one foot in the grave. Well you may be right, but as long as she doesn't know it, well I guess she can continue to live under the illusion that she has things in life to look forward to, but we know better, don't we?
Yep, it's pretty much down hill form here on out... that's why we gave her the party... cheer her up a little before the sober reality settles in.
Well here's how the day went:
Having gone to bed early Wednesday night at 10:00PM (I usually pass out around 11:00), I woke at 2:30AM and got busy. There was baking to be done.
After showering I began preparing Erin's birthday cake. There's nothing like a good home made birthday cake to show the recipient, in this case, Erin, that you care. I was determined to pull out all of the stops, and accordingly found a delightful recipe for a old fashioned Chocolate Cake, at the website, Besides needing all purpose flour, superfine sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa, and sour cream, the recipe called for three eyes of newt, and unsalted butter, one and a half sticks of the stuff. Well, the newts were easy enough. I had laid out newt traps the day before, and found six of the slippery creatures in the garden.
The real problem came when trying to get the salt out of the butter. I was at a loss on how exactly to go about this. It took me three hours frantically searching the Internet for a suitable process, which I eventually discovered. Electrodialysis was involved, which took another four hours, and I thought to myself that this was a decidedly complicated procedure for a simple cake, but what can one do?
After an hour of mixing, two hours of baking, one for cooling off, I was ready to frost and decorate, writing the words "Happy Birthday Erin," with delicious red icing, which I felt to be exceedingly appropriate, it being her birthday and all.
At 4:00AM I posted a happy birthday wish for my dear case manager on this website. You may see it yourself dear readers if you simply take the time and trouble to scroll down a twidge. I found a lovely picture of Erin in my Erin Picture Collection. She later told me that this particular photo was taken while she had been visiting India a few years ago. You can hardly tell that she had been attacked by a rampaging mongoose shortly before the picture was taken, the unnaturally curly hair being the only clue.
Case manager Paul came in to work shortly after 8:30, and helped me place the finishing touches on the cake, 6 Oreo cookies placed strategically on top. Alas the cake was done.
It being Thursday, Erin spent her birthday morning goofing off over at the Olympia Hotel, so Paul and I were free to make any preparations we desired without fear of tipping her off to our nefarious plans.
It would have worked too, if I hadn't learned that Paul had been humming the song we had been practicing for two months, which we planned to perform for Erin, whenever he freaking felt like it, probably alerting my bright case manager to the fact that something was afoot.
Anyway, I arrived at the Olympia for the Cooking Club shortly before 11:30. Charlotte and Earl were in the kitchen waiting, and I alerted them to the fact that it was Erin's birthday.
When Erin and Paul did walk in we all broke out into the "Happy Birthday Song," for her, which seemed to please her, and she thanked us. That done we proceeded to make some nice Eggplant Parmesan. I got to make the tomato sauce, and with Earl, pan fried the breaded sliced eggplants.
We had the pleasure of meeting Erin's friend Ivey, who came to visit and partake of our bountiful meal after it was finished cooking. Lovely lady.
It turned out well, and there was enough left over for all of us to take some home. I have some in my refrigerator right now as a matter of fact. I'm going to eat it in a little while for my dinner, it being the night before I post this. It will be good.
Anyway, I had cleverly made an appointment for a case management session with Erin in her office for 2:30, to ensure she would be where she needed to be to celebrate her birthday. Accordingly, I made my way down there at that time with the nice birthday cake and a bag of birthday goodies. I had inserted a single candle (red) on top of the cake, and lit it just outside her office door. I knocked, and upon hearing her say, "Come in," I entered.
Paul was already there, and we both sang the "Happy Birthday Song," again, while presenting her with the cake. She blew out her candle.
"Paul and I made it ourselves," I told her.
"Sure you... why thank you, Rick... Paul. It's beautiful. It means so much to me that you guys made it yourselves."
"I made the candle too Erin!"
At this point I opened up the bag of birthday goodies. There were birthday hats in there, and we each donned one. Then I presented her with her first present, a V.C.R. tape of the movie, "Go," starring the lovely Sarah Polley and Katie Holmes. I gave her this because Erin had told me she owns a V.C.R. viewing machine which is located in her bedroom. She seemed appreciative.
"Wow! Thanks Rick," she said.
Next came a devious ploy on my part I must admit. I had loaned Erin a copy of James Clavell's masterpiece, the historical adventure novel, "Shōgun," because she had expressed an interest in learning about Japanese culture. Upon giving her the book, she promptly placed it on her office storage shelf where it has sat collecting dust for like decades.
I had taken the book from the shelf the day before and put it in a manilla envelope with her name on it.
I presented Erin with this envelope, telling her, "Now Erin, this is a present from all of us clients from both the Las Americas and the Olympia..."
"Yes. Now they wanted me to tell you that you have to take what's inside home with you, to your room, and place it where it will be the first thing you see in the morning, and the last thing you see before going to sleep each night."
She opened it, saw the book and laughed.
I don't think there's anything particularly funny about this, dear readers. It's a wonderful book, and I'm sure you all share my desire that she experience the wonderfulness of it.
Erin asked if she should cut the cake next.
"Not yet Erin. Paul and I are going to sing you a song."
As you may recall, last year Paul and I sang the Beatles tune, "Hide Your Love Away," for Erin. This year we choose George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun," which we had been practicing for weeks.
Erin recorded it on her little digital camera, and I invite you to watch it right here:
Erin seemed to enjoy her song which made it all worthwhile.
Before I let Erin cut her birthday cake I presented her with a birthday card with round trip tickets to the Bahamas inside. This seemed to please her greatly, and I got a nice birthday hug for my efforts.
That made it all worthwhile too.
We finally got around to the cake, then the freaking clowns arrived. I don't know why. We didn't invite the bastards considering what happened last year.
Eight of them. They began various clown activities, blowing up balloons, pantomime, acrobatics. Speaking of balloons, I flipped the switch, and two hundred balloons and streamers fell from the ceiling (odd that Erin hadn't noticed them) and landed about us. Erin cried out in delight! The circus animals came next. One of the elephants made a mess on Paul's desk, but they were otherwise well behaved. The dancing girls arrived. I began singing "Livin' la Vida Loca," with a lamp shade on my head. Men swallowed swords and breathed fire. The bears and tigers scared Paul a bit, as he cowered to one side. The trapeze took up an entire corner. A man was shot out of a giant cannon. The fireworks began. Erin took a ride on one of the many horses. It was definitely getting crowded, and a little smokey in there. Other nearby residents heard what was going on and joined us. A Conga line started. The cake was consumed. Punch was procured. Erin was lifted on her chair by the clowns 26 times in honer of her new age. While I was distracted with an angry pygmy jerboa, the clowns made off with Erin... again! (see picture above) She hasn't been heard from since.
F- - king clowns! They're always doing stuff like that.

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